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Hildegard E. Peplau papers

MC 59

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing
Peplau, Hildegard E., 1949-1987
Peplau, Letitia Anne
Hildegard E. Peplau papers
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
MC 59
2.1 Linear feet
Hildegard Elizabeth Peplau was nationally and internationally known for her expertise in psychiatric and mental health nursing. This collection consists primarily of papers on psychiatric nursing which Hildegard Peplau prepared and presented at conferences, workshops, and other professional activities. It also contains reprints of a number of her published articles.
Cite as:
Hildegard E. Peplau papers, Barbara Bates Center for The Study of The History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
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Hildegard Elizabeth Peplau, whose career spanned more than a half century as a practitioner, teacher, leader, scholar, and theorist, was nationally and internationally known for her expertise in psychiatric and mental health nursing.

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on September 1, 1909, the daughter of Gustav and Oltylie Elgert Peplau, she received a diploma from the Reading Evening High School (1928) and graduated from the Pottstown Hospital School of Nursing, Pottstown, Pennsylvania (1931). As a nursing student, she completed a student training experience at Norristown State Hospital, Pennsylvania, which is believed to have stimulated her interest in psychiatric care. She obtained a bachelor of arts in interpersonal psychology from Bennington College, Vermont (1943) and went on to receive both a master’s in psychiatric nursing (1947) and a doctorate in educational curriculum development (1953) from Columbia University, New York. She completed a certificate in psychoanalysis applied for teachers from the William Alanson White Institute, New York City, in 1954.

During World War II, Peplau served as a first lieutenant in the U. S. Army Nurse Corps. Her assignments included head nurse at Deshon General Hospital, Butler, Pennsylvania (May-November 1943) and the School of Military Neuropsychiatry in England (1943-1945). In April 1945 Peplau was assigned to the Stark Memorial General Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina, where she was received an honorary discharge from the U. S. Army Nurse Corps in July 1945.

Peplau returned to Columbia and served as instructor and director of the graduate program for advanced psychiatric nursing until 1953. She then joined the nursing faculty at The Rutgers University College of Nursing, Newark, New Jersey, and remained at Rutgers until 1974. Beginning as an instructor, she worked her way through the ranks to become chairman and then director of psychiatric nursing. During this period, she also maintained a part-time psychotherapy practice.

In 1948, Peplau completed a manuscript for the book Interpersonal Relations in Nursing, which was published in 1952. Her articles appeared in more than 30 journals beginning with her first article--on the health program at Bennington College--which appeared in  Public Health Nursing in 1942. A number of her writings have been reprinted and several have been translated into other languages.

Her professional activities included serving on advisory boards and committees and providing consultation to professional organizations and health agencies. She was a member of the first expert advisory board to the World Health Organization and served as third vice-president of the International Council of Nurses (1977-1981). She also held several offices in the American Nurses Association including executive director (September 1969-May 1970), president (May 1970-May 1972), and second vice-president (1972-1974). Additionally she served as national nurse consultant to the surgeon general of the United States Air Force; nursing consultant to the United States Public Health Service; and consultant to the National Institute of Mental Health. From 1963 through 1987, she held a number of visiting university professorships in the U.S. and overseas.

Her contributions to health and nursing issues have been acknowledged through nine honorary doctorate degrees, including one from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland (1994). She received a number of distinguished awards including the American Academy of Nursing Living Legend Award (1995) and the Christiane Reimann Prize (1997). In 1998 she was inducted into the America Nurses Association Hall of Fame. She was the only nurse named one of “Fifty Great Americans” by Marquis Who’s Who and the Library of Congress (1995).

In 1984, Peplau moved to Sherman Oaks, California, to be near her daughter, Letitia Anne Peplau, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Letitia obtained a bachelor of arts degree from Brown University (1968) and a doctorate in social psychology from Harvard University (1973). She wrote and co-authored several books and numerous articles in the field of social psychology.

Hildegard Peplau died on March 17, 1999, in Sherman, California.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of papers on psychiatric nursing which Hildegard Peplau prepared and presented at conferences, workshops, and other professional activities. It also contains reprints of a number of her published articles. In addition the collection contains several reprints of articles by Hildegard Peplau’s daughter, the social psychologist Letitia Peplau.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Rita Beatty, updated by Bethany Myers

Access Restrictions

This collection is unrestricted.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Center with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Letitia Anne Peplau and Shirley A. Smoyak.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

These papers were brought to the Center’s attention by Dr. Peplau’s former colleague, Professor Shirley Smoyak of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, who located the material at Rutgers in 2002. Professor Smoyak transferred the papers to the Center, and, with Smoyak’s assistance, the Center was able to contact Peplau’s daughter, Letitia Anne Peplau, who donated the material.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Rutgers University. College of Nursing.
  • Faculty papers
  • Personal papers
  • Nurse
  • Nursing schools--Faculty
Personal Name(s)
  • Peplau, Hildegard E., 1949-1987
  • Peplau, Letitia Anne
  • Health policy.
  • Homosexuality.
  • Military nursing
  • Nursing Theory
  • Nursing--Government policy--United States.
  • Psychiatric nursing
  • Social psychology.
  • United States. Army Nurse Corps.
  • World War, 1939-1945--Medical care

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Collection Inventory

Series 1.  Personal information, 1969-1984.

Scope and Contents note

This series contains biographical information including material which was collected in order to nominate Dr. Peplau for honorary degrees and recognitions.

Box Folder

Biographical, 1969, 1977, 1982.

1 1

Oral history, psychiatric nursing career, conducted by Patricia D'Antonio, PhD., 1985.

1 2

Nomination materials for honorary degrees and recognitions, 1978, 1983-1984, undated.

1 3

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Series 2.  Rutgers, the State University, College of Nursing, 1949-1984.

Scope and Contents note

This series contains materials pertaining to Peplau’s work in developing the graduate program in advanced psychiatric nursing at Rutgers. Included are files relating to planning and implementing the Hildegard E. Peplau Lectures Series which began in 1981.

Box Folder

Mental Health Principles for the Nurse, 1949.

1 1

Opinions on the Functions of Clinical Specialist in Psychiatric Nursing, 1955-1957.

1 2

Graduate Program, group work with psychiatric patients, winter, 1957.

1 3

Lecture, Work role of Staff Nurses, A. L. Clark, 1957.

1 4

Report, Development of Graduate Program in Advanced Psychiatric Nursing, July 1955 to June 1961, 1960.

1 5

Notes of the "First National Conference for Professional Nurses and Physicians" Williamsburg, Virginia, 1964.

1 6

Program in Advanced Psychiatric Nursing, Fall 1970-71, Spring 1971.

1 7

Training and Functions of Health Team in Community Mental Health, [196?].

1 8

Pamphlet, Graduate Program in Advanced Psychiatric Nursing, undated.

1 9

Trends and Therapeutic Concepts in Psychiatric Nursing Practice, undated.

1 10

An Open Forum With Dr. Hildegard Peplau, presented by Phyllis Connolly and Linda Rusch, April 1, 1980.

1 11

Peplau Fund, correspondence (incoming and outgoing), 1981-1984.

1 12

Peplau Lectures.

Box Folder

First Annual Hildegard E. Peplau Lecture, correspondence incoming and outgoing, announcements, meeting minutes and other related materials, 1982-1983.

1 13

Second Endowed Peplau Lecture, Smith/ Kline, correspondence, incoming and outgoing, invitation, and other related materials, 1983-1984.

1 14

Senate Bill, S.401, Social Security Act, "Community Nursing Centers of 1983".

1 15

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Series 3.  Writings, 1952-1984.

Scope and Contents note

The bulk of this series consist of papers presented at colleges, universities, and professional association meetings in the U.S. and overseas from 1952-1984. Additionally, the files contain copies and reprints of a number of Peplau’s publications (See box list below).


Box Folder

Automation; Will It Change Nurses, Nursing or Both?, 1962.

2 1


Box Folder

Public Health Nursing As a Resource for Mental Health Promotion American Orthopsychiatric Association, March 8, 1958.

2 2

Interpersonal Relations in Nursing Tri-State Hospital Association, Delaware State Hospital, New Castle, Delaware, March 18, 1964.

2 3

Illness as a Depersonalizing Experience, 1966.

2 4

The Changing Social Need for Nursing Service, 1966.

2 5

Commencement Address, Rutgers, College of Nursing, Newark, NJ, May 25, 1984.

2 6


Box Folder

A Perfect Right Shirley Smoyak, Human Rights Conference, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey, May 4, 1974.

2 7


Box Folder

Loneliness American Journal of Nursing, 55, No.12, December 1955.

2 8

What is Experiential Teaching American Journal of Nursing, 57, No. 7, July 1957.

2 9

Interpersonal Relations and The Process of Adaptation Nursing Science, 1, No. 4, October-November 1963.

2 10

Interpersonal Relations and the Work of the Industrial Nurse American Association of Industrial Nurses Journal, November 1967.

2 11

The Independence of Nursing Imprint, National Students Nurses Association, Vol. 9, No. 3, May 1972.

2 12

Collaborate or Isolate? The Pennsylvania Nurse, 29, No. 1, January 1973.

2 13

Creativity and Commitment in Nursing Image, 6, No. 3, 1974.

2 14

An Open Letter to a New Graduate Nursing Digest, III, No. 2, March-April 1975.

2 15

What Future for Nursing American Operating Room Nursing Journal, 24, No. 2, August 1976.

2 16

The Changing View of Nursing International Nursing Review, 24, No. 2, March-April 1977.

2 17

Articles Reprints.

Box Folder

The Heart of Nursing: Interpersonal Relations The Canadian Nurse, 61, No.4, April 1965.

2 18

The 91st Day a Challenge to Professional Nursing Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, III, No.2, 1965.

2 19

Nursing Education and Community Mental Health Handbook of Community Health (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1972.

2 20

Psychiatric Nursing: Role of Nurses and Psychiatric International Council of Nurses, undated.

2 21

Pattern Perpetuation in Schizophrenia Schizophrenia: Current Concepts and Research,Shirley A. Smoyak and Hildegarde E. Peplau, undated.

2 22


Box Folder

A Sociopsychiatric Nursing Approach to Intervention in a Problem of Mutual Withdrawal on a Mental Hospital Ward Gwen E. Tudor, Journal for the Study of Interpersonal Processes, 15, No. 2, May 1952.

2 22


Box Folder

Nurse-Patient Participation and Interaction with Reference to Cardiovascular Diseases Bridgeport Heart Association, February 20, 1952.

2 23

Safety Illinois State Nurses Association, Chicago, Illinois, May 2, 1952.

2 24

Present Day Trends in Psychiatric Nursing Veterans Administration Hospital, Roanoke,Virginia, September 13-14, 1954.

2 25

Therapeutic Function National League for Nursing Project, Washington, D.C., April 16-20, 1956.

2 26

Educating the Nurse to Function in Psychiatric Services Mental Health Training andResearch, Sequaoyal State Park, Oklahoma, March 27, 1957.

2 27

Giving Advancement of Psychiatry, Nursing Committee, Asbury Park, N.J., November 8 –10, 1957.

2 28

Interpretation of Clinical Observations University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, January 2-3, 1958.

2 29

Current Concepts of Psychiatric nursing Care, American Nurses Association, Atlantic City, June 11, 1958.

2 30

"Nurse in the World Today" New Jersey State Nurses Association, Atlantic City, October 29, 1958.

2 31

Emotional Aspects of Aging American Red Cross, Caldwell, N.J., January 21, 1959.

2 32

Filling the Ranks in Psychiatric Nursing New Jersey Association for Mental Health, East Orange, New Jersey, June 5, 1959.

2 33

Psychiatric Aspects of Nursing Practice National League for Nursing Convention,Asbury Park, N.J., October 5, 1960.

2 34

Interpersonal Techniques: The Crux of Psychiatric Nursing Rochester National Leagueof Nursing, Rochester, N.Y., November 17, 1961.

2 35

Trends in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing American Nurses Association Clinical Session, 1962.

2 36

Leadership Responsibility in Toleration of Stress Columbia University Teachers College, New York, June 7, 1963.

2 37

Essentials of Process Recording and Analysis in Nursing Practice (place unidentified), March 1964.

2 38

Interpersonal Relational in Nursing Tri- State Association, Delaware State Hospital, New Castle, Delaware, March 18, 1964.

2 39

Womanpower in the Field of Psychiatric Nursing in New Jersey, Essex House, Newark, New Jersey, March 25, 1964.

2 40

Interpersonal Theories and Techniques; Tools for Promoting Growth of People throughNursing Practice State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, April 11-12, 1964.

2 41

Nurse-Patient Relationship Ohio State Nurses, Columbus, Ohio, October 7, 1964.

2 42

Professional and Social Behavior: Some Differences Worth the Notice of Professional Nurses Sigma Theta Tau, Department of Nursing, Columbia University, School of Nursing, New York, NY, October 15, 1964.

2 43

Trends in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Southern Regional Mental EducationBoard, Atlanta, Georgia, December 2-3, 1964.

2 44

Specialization in Professional Nursing Columbia University, New York, New York, January 13, 1965.

3 45

Operational Definitions and Nursing Practice Southern Regional Education Board, January 15, 1965.

3 46

Interpersonal Relationship in Nursing Council on Hospital Services, Maryland, District of Columbia, Delaware Hospital and Washington D.C., February 11, 1965.

3 47

Process of Developing a Relationship: Some General Considerations Institute on Communication in Helping Process in Nursing" New Orleans, Louisiana, February 16, 1965.

3 48

Nurse-Patient Relationships in Public Health Nursing Birmingham, Alabama, March 21, 1965.

3 49

United Action for Health Western New York League for Nursing, Buffalo, New York, April 27, 1965.

3 50

The 91st Day: Chronicity–What Produces It and What Can Do To Prevent Chronicity (preview of film), February 1965.

3 51

A Bold New Approach (to mental health), place not identified, May 1965.

3 52

The Work of Psychiatric Nurses, November 1966.

3 53

Trends in Nursing Education USAF, Brooks AFB, Texas, November 28, 1966.

3 54

Psychotherapeutic Strategies in Nursing Care of Psychiatric Patients Yale University,New Haven, Connecticut, April 7, 1967.

3 55

Interpersonal Relations and the Work of the Industrial Nurses American Association of Industrial nurses, Americana Hotel, New York City, April 11, 1967.

3 56

Effective Communication: A Vital Nursing Function School of Aerospace Medicine, USAF, Brooks AFB, Texas, January 16, 1968.

3 57

Doctoral Education for Nurses Sigma Theta Tau, Rutgers University, College of Nursing, New Jersey, October 5, 1968.

3 58

Nurse-Patient Interaction New York University, Loeb Center, New York, February 17, 1969.

3 59

Some Concerns of the Nursing Service Administrator USAF, Medical Service School, Sheppard Air Base, May 26, 1969.

3 60

Commitment to Change: A Challenge for the 70's, Inter-University Faculty Nechen,Round Hills, South Dartmouth, Mass., June 30, 1970.

3 61

Communication in Crisis Intervention" Mental Health Association of Westchester County, Inc., White Plains, New York, October 30, 1970.

3 62

The Nurse Clinical Specialist: Change Engineer for Nursing Practice and Organization Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., November 17, 1970.

3 63

Utilization and Change: Capitalizing on Education Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, November 18, 1970.

3 64

Mental Health and the Public Pulse New York University, December 7, 1972.

3 65

Focal Attention: Forms of Dysfunction Seen by nurses in Psychiatric Patients (place unidentified), October 1973.

3 66

Commitment to Nursing California Nurses Association, District #1, [1970-1980?].

3 67

Some Reflections on Early Days in Psychiatric Nursing Adelphi College, Garden City,New York, October 12, 1981.

3 68

Some Ideas about Nursing in the Psychiatric Milieu Boulder Psychiatric Institute, Boulder, Colorado, October 29, 1982.

3 69

Psychiatric Nursing: Past, Present and Future University of California, Los Angeles, November 1, 1982.

3 70

Some Dimensions of the Concept of Prevention Rutgers University, College Alumni Association, Newark, New Jersey, April 15, 1983.

3 71

Professionalism Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania, May 28, 1983.

3 72

Internal vs. External Regulation New Jersey State Nurses Association, Great Gorge, New Jersey, October 14 ,1983.

3 73

Specialists in Nursing: How Does the Public Know? American Nurses Association, San Antonio, Texas, March 1, 1984.

4 74

Historical Reason for a Definition of Nursing nursing meeting, Sydney, Nova Scotia, April 11, 1984.

4 75

Psychiatric Nursing Concepts Necessary for all Nurses Conference for Nurses, Le Bon Secours, Geneva, Switzerland, May 26, 1984.

4 76

History and Evolution of the Nurse-Patient Relationships Ecole de Soins Infirmiers, LeBon Secours, Geneva Switzerland, May 27, 1984.

4 77

Is Nursing's Self-Regulatory Responsibility Being Eroded? American Nurses Association Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 23, 1984.

4 78

An Approach to Research in Psychiatric Nursing (first draft), undated.

4 79

An Explanatory Theory of the Process of Focal Attention, undated.

4 80

Focal Attention: Forms of Dysfunction Seen by Nurses in Psychiatric Patients (co-author), undated.

4 81

Group Nursing American Group Psychotherapy Association, Inc., New York, New York, January 25, 1962.

4 82

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Series 4.  Printed items, 1958-1981.

Scope and Contents note

Included in this series is a guidebook for a film focusing on nurse-patient relationship published by the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing in cooperation with Smith Kline and French Laboratory in 1958. There is a chapter concerning the role of nursing in psychiatry and a review of Opportunities in a Psychiatric Career.


Box Folder

Psychiatric Nursing: The Nurse-Patient Relationship (Instructor's Guide for use with film) Hildegard E. Peplau and Letitia M. Roe, October 1958.

4 1

Basic Principles of Patient Counseling, Hildegard E. Peplau, Smith Kline & French Laboratories, Philadelphia, 1964.

4 2

Loneliness: A Sourcebook of Current Theory, Research and Therapy, addresses of contributors, 1981.

4 3

Book Review.

Box Folder

Opportunities in a Psychiatry Career, by Henry A. Davidson, Universal Publishing,New York, 1964.

4 4


Box Folder

The Role of Nursing in Psychiatry Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, undated.

4 5

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Series 5.  Conferences and Workshops, 1951-1983.

Scope and Contents note

This series documents Peplau’s involvement with conferences at colleges and universities. Included are materials from “Illness – A Family Crisis,” Professional Nursing Conference on Mental Health, Texas Nurses Association, Lubbock, Texas, 1966; “Integrating Psychiatric Nursing Principals Into the General Curriculum,” University of California School of Nursing, San Francisco, California, 1963; and from studies such as “A Shift in Thinking: Instrument and Manual for Understanding Behavior” (1951 and 1964).


Box Folder

Illness–A Family Crisis Professional Nursing Conference on Mental Health, Texas Nurses Association, District 18, Lubbock, Texas, March 28-29, 1966.

4 1


Box Folder

Materials for Workshops in mental health nursing, 1963, 1965, undated.

4 2

Integration Psychiatric Nursing Concepts into the General Curriculum University of California, San Francisco, California, 1963.

4 3


Box Folder

A Shift in Thinking: Instrument and Manual for Understanding Behavior Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, 1951.

4 4

A Shift in Thinking: Instrument and Manual for Understanding Behavior Tools and Tasks Outlines, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1951 and 1964.

4 5

Opinions about the Functions of Clinical Specialist in Psychiatric Nursing Rutgers, State University, College of Nursing, New Jersey, A report of responses of participants to Questionnaires about new position in psychiatric nursing, 1955-1957.

5 6

Curriculum appraisal for socio-psychiatric content in basic professional schools of nursing, prepared by Hildegard E. Peplau, for the National League for Nursing, June 1955 and revised March 1956.

5 7

Project Report.

Box Folder

Demonstration Project in the Methods of Integration in a School of Nursing Themes and/orPatterns of Relations in Nursing Situations, 1955.

5 8


Box Folder

To Identify and Decrease Loneliness of Residence in Nursing, Mary Thomas, 1983.

5 9

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Series 6.  Reprints of articles published by Letitia Anne Peplau, 1983-1987.

Scope and Contents note

This series includes curriculum vitae, reprints, and copies of Letitia Peplau’s writings on loneliness and sexuality.

Box Folder

Curriculum Vitae, 1983.

5 1

Reprinted Articles.

Box Folder

Developing a Measure of Loneliness Dan Russell, Letitia A. Peplau, and Mary L. Ferguson, Journal of Personality Assessment, 42, No.3, June 1978; "Power Strategies in Intimate Relationships" Toni Falb and Letitia A. Peplau. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 38, No. 4, April 1980; "What Homosexuals Want" Letitia Anne Peplau, Psychology Today, March 1981; "Research on Homosexual Couples: An Overview" Letitia Anne Peplau, Journal ofHomosexuality, Vol. 8 (2), Winter 1982; "Satisfaction in Lesbian Relationships" Letitia Anne Peplau, Christine Padesky, and Mykol Hamilton, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol.8 (2), Winter 1982.

5 2


Box Folder

Loneliness: A Cognitive Analysis, Letitia Anne Peplau and Mayta Ann Caldwell, University of California, Los Angeles, July 1977.

5 3

An Attributional Analysis of Loneliness, Letitia Anne Peplau, Dan Russell and MargaretHeim, University of California, Los Angeles, May 1978.

5 4


Box Folder

A Longitudinal Study of Loneliness, Carolyn E. Cutrona, and Letitia Anne Peplau, Western Psychological Association, San Diego, April 7, 1979, 1982-1983.

5 5

Sex Differences in Values Concerning Love Relationships, Letitia Anne Peplau and Susan D. Cochran, American Psychological Association, Montreal, September 1980; The Balance of Power in Lesbian Relationships, Mayta A. Caldwell and Letitia Anne Peplau, University of California, Los Angeles, October 1981.

5 6

Loneliness Research: Implication for Intervention, Daniel Perlman and Letitia Anne Peplau, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, February 10-12, 1982.

5 7


Box Folder

Loneliness: A Sourcebook of Current Theory, Research, and Theory, ed. Anne Peplauand Daniel Perlman, Table of Contents, 1981.

5 8

Selected Bibliography on Loneliness from 1580 to1986, Reza Shapurian Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1987.

5 9


Box Folder

The Intimate Relationships of Lesbians and Gay Men Letitia Anne Peplau and Steven L. Gordon, Changing Boundaries: Gender Roles and Sexual Behavior (Palo Alto, California: Mayfield).

5 10

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Series 7.  Photographs, 1983.

Scope and Contents note

This series consist of three photographs of individuals who presented at a nursing conference.

Box Photo

Margaret Armstrong, 1983.

5 1

Helen M. Arnold, 1983.

5 2

Susan L. Jones, 1983.

5 3

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